What Is a Night Guard and Why Do I Need One?

Have you ever woken up from a sound sleep after hearing your teeth grind together? Have you ever woken up in the morning with a sore jaw or headache? Does your jaw joint click, pop, or occasionally lock? If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you may be a good candidate for a dental night guard.

What Are Dental Night Guards?

Dental night guards are customized oral appliances designed to help treat certain disorders that destroy tooth structure, cause tooth and jaw pain, induce chronic headaches, and interfere with the quality of your life.

There are 2 primary reasons we may recommend a night guard for you:

1. Bruxism, or Teeth Grinding. While doctors don’t know with certainty what causes people to grind their teeth at night, stress is a suspected culprit. Teeth grinding can cause:

  • Flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles, jaw and/or facial pain, or jaw locking
  • Chronic headaches or migraines
  • Gum recession and tooth deformities
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ear
  • Sore neck and shoulder muscles

Not all people who grind their teeth have symptoms like headaches and sore jaw muscles. However, Dr. Sanyk has a keen eye for the ‘silent’ clues that you may have bruxism. Whether you suffer from the many side effects from grinding or not, a custom dental night guard will prevent further teeth erosion and decrease your symptoms.

2. Dysfunction and/or asymmetry of the Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ). Many people have a distinct click or pop in their jaw joint when they open wide. This phenomenon may not cause any symptoms and may have nothing to do with bruxism. However, long-term jaw popping and clicking may cause:

  • Jaw tightness and locking
  • Inflammation of the jaw muscles, ligaments, and joint disc
  • Future arthritic symptoms and pain

Why Is a Custom Night Guard More Beneficial than a Generic One?

There are a number of reasons a custom night guard is more beneficial than a generic one. Most importantly, generic over-the-counter night guards may make your problem worse rather than better. That won’t be the case with a custom dental night guard.

The night guard created by the Smile Hilliard Team will be custom-fitted and examined to ensure that it fits properly. Additionally, the snug fit of the night guard—coupled with the thinner material that it is constructed with—means that you’ll find your custom night guard is comfortable and easy to wear during sleep.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Not Wearing a Night Guard If One Is Recommended for You?

The consequences of not wearing a night guard that’s been recommended can be severe. The long term effects of bruxism that has been left untreated are possible tooth wear, tooth breakage, tooth pain, root canals, tooth loss, chronic headaches, facial pain, arthritic symptoms, and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD.

To schedule your appointment with Smile Hilliard, simply click here to use our online appointment request form or call us at 614.328.9489.

We are committed to the best dental solutions for you and your family. Life is complicated. Dentistry doesn't have to be!

At our office in Hilliard, Ohio, Dr. Rachel Sanyk and the Smile Hilliard team are fully committed to providing our patients with the very best in general dentistry with comprehensive preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and therapeutic services.

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